Councils prevail in Welsh nurse funding dispute

3 Aug 17

A legal battle between the Welsh NHS and the country’s councils over nurse funding has been won by local authorities.

The dispute between 21 councils and health boards began when health boards said they would not fund nurses for so-called “non-nursing care time”.

This includes social care like dressing and washing patients, and stand-by time, paid breaks and time spent receiving supervision.

However care homes, and then later local authorities challenged this and began legal proceedings in 2014 after claiming they were missing out on crucial funding.

On Wednesday, August 2 the Supreme Court said health boards had “misinterpreted” the law and ruled that the parties should renegotiate – with Care Forum Wales claiming the argument meant homes are owed £30m in unpaid fees.

Mario Kreft, chair of Care Forum Wales, welcomed the ruling, but added: “It is a national scandal that we have had to endure this long and completely unnecessary legal dispute.

“Everybody is in total agreement that this money should be paid to care homes and it is, after all, taxpayers' money from the public purse.”

Vanessa Young, the Welsh NHS Confederation's director, said the case was not about “winners or losers, but about seeking clarity on complex points of law and how they apply to the funding arrangements for those receiving nursing care in a care home setting”.

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